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Let’s bring some excitement back to Uniondale | LIHerald.com

Let’s bring some excitement back to Uniondale | LIHerald.com

There are lots of old buildings on Long Island. The North Shore, Gatsby-like houses tend to be too old to fix up and too expensive to maintain. But one of Long Island’s oldest structures that has always deserved attention and gotten little respect is the Nassau Coliseum. Whether by luck or circumstance, the Coliseum is now a hot topic.
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Unheeded lessons of the 2003 blackout | Newsday

Unheeded lessons of the 2003 blackout | Newsday

It was a traumatic event that plunged 50 million people in the United States and Canada into darkness. On a hot summer afternoon 10 years ago this week, a cascading series of failures on the electric grid left parts of New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Ontario without power.

What created all this mayhem? An overloaded and aging power line in Ohio that was knocked down by trees with too much foliage.

Continue reading “Unheeded lessons of the 2003 blackout | Newsday” »

How about a beginner’s guide for politicians? | LIHerald

How about a beginner’s guide for politicians? | LIHerald

A very wise person once told me that the two greatest professions for which there is no formal training are politics and motherhood. Thanks to programs like Lamaze classes and nonprofits like Planned Parenthood, there is no lack of useful training for expectant mothers to guide them through the early stages of mothering.

In the case of politics, however, regrettably, there are no formal or informal seminars to guide fledgling politicians through the process and to keep them out of harm’s way. I know that all of the political parties conduct candidate schools, but that isn’t what I’m talking about.
Continue reading “How about a beginner’s guide for politicians? | LIHerald” »

Kremer: In the political season, anything goes | LIHerald.com

Kremer: In the political season, anything goes | LIHerald.com

Despite the rush to enjoy the waning days of summer, there’s no way to avoid the hints of a political season yet to come. Whether you live in Montauk or Manhattan, the airwaves are crowded with commercials for those running for public office.

Because the New York City media reaches every community on Long Island, the Nassau-Suffolk area is being bombarded with commercials highlighting the city races for mayor and comptroller. It seems like candidates are buying up every available second of television and radio time to tell us why they’re the best choice.

Continue reading “Kremer: In the political season, anything goes | LIHerald.com” »

Cutting government is much easier said than done |LIHerald.com

Cutting government is much easier said than done |LIHerald.com

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney got himself into a lot of trouble last year by making disparaging remarks about the so-called “47 percent” of Americans who rely on the government for their needs. Actually, that number is much higher, and without a lot of those government programs, you may as well move the country to Botswana or someplace like that, which also doesn’t have indoor plumbing.

Regardless of who you are or what your economic level is, we all get a lot of things from the government that we take for granted. Whether you live in the city or the suburbs of New York state, mass transit is a big deal. Many of the high rollers who run hedge funds as well as the blue-collar employees of Wall Street rely on the Long Island Rail Road or Metro North to get to work each day. Without the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there wouldn’t be any mass transit.

Long Island residents like to brag about their quality of life and boast about the best parks and beaches. Last time I looked, those much-cherished facilities belonged to the government, and without taxpayer support and subsidies from the government, they wouldn’t exist. If you think that the commuter railroads and subways are just paid for out of the fare box, you’re very mistaken. Without federal subsidies, none of the trains and buses would be running.

Which brings me to the issue of the U.S. Postal Service. The people who run our mail system are threatening to do away with Saturday delivery starting this August. The postal system lost almost $16 billion last year, and it has to do something to stop the bleeding. Cutting out Saturday service would save at least $2 billion, which isn’t small change. There is no doubt that emails and such services as FedEx and UPS have taken a lot of business away from our postal system. Oddly enough, the cost of these overnight delivery services would probably be doubled or tripled if there weren’t a postal service to keep the rates down. No doubt many of our readers wouldn’t care if there were no mail delivery, but the vast majority of Americans would suffer greatly. So who do we blame for the current postal mess? It’s no surprise that Congress has created it. Members of Congress are the first people to scream when a local post office is about to close. But last year Congress forced the postal service to default on a multibillion-dollar pension fund payment by denying the funding.

The postmaster general said last year that there was a need to close 252 of the 487 mail-processing services and reduce overnight delivery of first class mail. Within seconds of the announcement, it seemed, a handful of Tea Party-supported congressmen started screaming in protest. These are the same people who are always complaining that government has to be downsized and run like a private business.

In addition to mail delivery, there are quite a few other services we take for granted. Millions of people rely on Amtrak for train service throughout the Northeast. Not everyone can afford to take an airplane to Washington or Boston, and those discount bus companies aren’t always the safest. Take a ride on an Amtrak train and you will see every class of citizen sitting in the same car.

There’s no doubt that government is too big and needs to be selectively downsized. But where do we start? Social Security checks for widows? Aid for college students from poor families? Payments to returning soldiers for career retraining?

Mitt Romney was totally wrong when he talked about the “47 percent.” The number is a lot bigger than that, and it covers all of us, including me, who respect what government does and can do.

Cutting government is much easier said than done – Long Beach – LIHerald.com – Nassau County’s source for local news, breaking news, sports, entertainment & shopping.